Letter from Dale Beyerstein


Source : Dale Beyerstein, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC Canada
Subject: In reply to a letter sent to him from Dr Elwndur Haraldsson, University of Iceland - October 1985.

(...) I certainly agree with the point you make at the end of your book that in the absence of agreement for controlled testing of claimed paranormal powers, we must make rough and ready judgements analogous (similar in certain respects) with judgements made in court house contexts. Analogous but not identical for obvious reasons.

On these sorts of grounds the evidence seems overwhelming against taking the materialisation claims seriously.

Sai Baba is caught out in self-puffery in so many instances - allowing omniscience claims when his language abilities are only average, and so on. And not only allowing them, but making them himself. And he speaks so loosely in so many ways that his denials that he uses sleight of hand cannot be given any real weight. The overwhelming evidence - given the film analysis, the loose anecdotal nature of the claims etc all point so definitely in this direction.

Moreover the widespread claims of sexual hanky panky and the evidence of association with the gold business - although not conclusive - must be seriously entered into the overall picture.

On the question you asked : 'Sam Dalal' is a name given by James Randi. Randi in a phone conversation said that Sai Baba 'materialised' a Seiko watch for a Seiko watch company executive visiting India. Sam Dalal asked for the serial number from the executive as I understood it, and got it. The number was then sent back to Japan for tracing. Turns out the number was a watch which was to have been stored in a warehouse not far from the site where the 'materialisation' took place.

B. Premanand (IRM) mentions Kasturi deleted the Seiko reference from his book after the investigation.(.....).